Tonkin Incident Vietnam War!

Tonkin Incident Vietnam War

The Gulf of Tonkin incident or the USS Maddox incident is the event responsible for America’s entry into the Vietnam war. Vietnam was divided into halves North and South ruled by separate regimes but the United States was concerned that Ho Chi Minh and the Communists would win the upcoming elections and were determined to stop the spread of Communism. US Military involvement however had been minimal until 1964 President Lyndon B Johnson had been training South Vietnamese mercenaries sending them into North Vietnam to carry out acts of sabotage and gather intel. On July 31st, 1964 South Vietnamese commandos had attacked North Vietnamese targets in the Gulf of Tonkin. On August 2nd, 1964 American Naval destroyers had moved into North Vietnam waters to gather intelligence on the enemy’s naval strength. The USS Maddox was nearing the mouth of the River Delta when Captain Herrick noticed that they were being followed by North Vietnamese torpedo boats and had intercepted communications of their intention to attack. So he fired three warning shots the USS Maddox was then fired upon by the enemy torpedo boats Captain Herrick retaliated and opened fire on the torpedo boats and with the assistance of U.S. jet fighters hit all three enemy targets. The enemy boats had fired their torpedoes but they all missed the USS Maddox then retreated back into international waters. Two days later a second patrol was launched into the Gulf of Tonkin by the USS Maddox and the USS Turner Joy. When Captain Herrick reported that they were again under attack Secretary McNamara and President Johnson agreed that retaliation was needed and the expansion of the war was approved by Congress. However, Herrick sent a later message claiming that he was mistaken about the attack and that freak weather action may have led his men to overreact. The final part of the message read no actual visual sightings by Maddox suggest complete evaluation before any further action is taken. Nevertheless, this was ignored by Johnson and his advisors who continued on with the retaliation plan. August 5th Johnson made a public speech stating the Determination of all Americans to carry out our full commitment to the people and to the government of South Vietnam will be redoubled by this outrage. Shortly after his speech U.S aircraft bomb North Vietnamese targets torpedo boat bases and an oil storage depot America was now drawn into the Vietnam war. President Johnson made a speech by the media to the American people to get their support for the war and describe the attack on two US Navy warships as deliberate aggression. By late 1965 200,000 American troops were on the ground with more on the way.